As evidence supporting the health benefits of omega-3s grows, so does the debate over farmed vs. wild salmon. Although other fatty fish like sardines, mackarel, herring, lake trout and albacore tuna are also rich sources of DHA and EPA, salmon swims alone in this particular sea of controversy.
CNN recently delved deeper into the issue after getting a “flurry” of questions and comments from readers regarding advice from CNNHealth’s nutrition expert, Dr. Melina Jampolis. In response to a reader question, Jampolis recommended limiting consumption of farmed salmon to once a week because of contamination and environmental concerns.
The article cites two sources claiming that farmed salmon is more toxic than wild: The Environmental Working Group, which reported that farmed salmon in the U.S. has the highest levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and a study published in Science that suggested farmed Atlantic salmon had higher levels of PCBs and other toxins than wild Pacific salmon. That said, the article also notes that farmed salmon contain higher levels of omega-3s, since they eat more.
So, what’s the right choice? Recent research has shown that the benefits of consuming omega-3s outweighs any potential risks, and that salmon farmers are more careful now about what they feed their tasty crop, so contaminant levels are lower than they once were.Even Jampolis has reconsidered her original advice, noting in this article that, yes, the benefits of eating any kind of salmon outweigh any risks. She further recommends that consumers trim the skin and fat, and cook the fish by grilling or boiling to further reduce the toxin-containing fat.